Category Archives: Energy
By: Wieke von Scheidt
Why do people have trouble staying focused?
Staying focused eight hours straight every day is a goal that most people strive for, but no matter how hard we try, it is impossible. Why? Experts say that the average attention span in adults is between 20 and 40 minutes.
Even though our preferred goal is to stay focused for eight full hours a day, our brain is not developed to function that way. The opposite often occurs when we try to stay on task for a long period of time – that is, we get easier distracted. Market research firm uSamp found that 53% of people waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. Collaboration tools that are supposed to increase productivity at work, continuous noises, overflowing email inboxes and the frequent feeling of being fatigued, let our minds keep wandering off.
In addition to the loss of hours, our body takes a toll when trying to work without proper breaks. People often turn to coffee to keep from getting tired, this can lead to sleep insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. In order to function properly adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Many don’t get the necessary amount of sleep needed and it starts affecting their concentration. So, what can you do to maintain the level of concentration you need to get all your work done?
Studies show that taking frequent breaks helps to increase focus and productivity tremendously. Many employees don’t take enough breaks during the day, some don’t even take any at all but that doesn’t seem to increase the amount of work they get done. People that don’t take breaks tend to get distracted easier than people who break frequently.
Draugiem Group, a social networking company based in Latvia has demonstrated this by using an app called DeskTime. Employees were to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. During this break employees did things completely unrelated to work and without the use of electronics, like going for a walk, chatting with co-workers, or reading a book.
The problem is that many fear to appear lazy or unproductive. It is important that employers support this method and show their employees that it is ok to take these breaks. In the end the whole organization will benefit from this approach.
If you have the ability to exercise during your breaks, do so. It’s been proven that moving around will increase concentration levels – even if you just go for a walk outside. Dr. John J. Ratey a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explained how a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released, which plays a role in the improvement of cognitive health. The image below shows best the level of activity in the brain of a person in a serenity state versus a person who has been active for 20 minutes.
In addition to what happens in the brain, exercising regularly benefits the whole body – leading to lower health risks.
The Right Nutrition
Nutrition can make a significant difference on concentration capacity, especially when consumed at the right timing. A study by the International Labor Office shows poor diet can impact up to 20% of work productivity. It is very common that office cafeterias don’t offer a balanced meal selection. In other cases employees only have 30 minutes and run to the next Fast Food restaurant. Some may underestimate the importance of the right nutrition and their connection to mental and physical functions. Of all nutrients water is probably the most important; studies have shown that not drinking enough water will not only dehydrate your body but also decrease your level of focus and short-term memory. Other foods that increase energy and concentration include blueberries, fish, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate.
Make a To-Do List
Making a to-do list is one of the most effective ways to get work done and stay on tasks. However, many seem to struggle creating a list and following it. There are too many distractions during the day that keep us from staying focused. Making a list will not only help you stay organized but also help finish the work you intended to do. Here are a few tips on how to write and follow the to-do list effectively.
Write Your to do list the night before
Writing your to-do list the night before will save you time and energy, which you will need in the morning to be most productive.
Get out your calendar
Take a look at your calendar, check appointments that are coming and determine what you need to for these meetings.
Make a random list of all the things you have to get done and then prioritize, listing the most important tasks first.
Check your emails
Check your email inbox when you arrive at work. Set a timeframe, like 30 minutes to read and respond to emails. After that don’t check it again for at least an hour or until you finished the first important task on your to-do list. Checking our email inbox is one of the most distracting things that keep us from focusing. As soon as we open our inbox we see an important email and feel the need to respond to it. Before we know it we will respond to the next, and the next, and the next, until we forget what we were actually concentrating on.
Set a Realistic Time
Setting a realistic timeframe is often difficult; people underestimate the time they really need to finish a task. So, be realistic and add an extra 30 minutes if you are unsure. It is better to have more time than to feel rushed. The same applies to emails, decide on how often you want to check your emails and set aside a certain time to respond to them.
The end of the day
Before you leave go over your to-do list and make sure you finished everything. Then start your new list for the following day.
Especially in the afternoon people tend to get groggy and crash easily. If that’s the case you should try Clarex. Compared to caffeine containing beverages it will keep you focused without the crash effect. If you do prefer to drink coffee you should try to drink it in the morning only. Generally, caffeine stays in your system for about 5 to 6 hours before it starts to wear off. Drinking coffee early in the day will decrease the chance of insomnia later on at night. Clarex will also help prevent caffeine jitters that tend to plague many coffee consumers.
Overall people’s ability to stay focused is limited. Scientists have proven that the human brain can only concentrate for a short period of time like up to 52 minutes. It is just a matter of us learning how to be more productive by taking frequent breaks, moving around, staying organized, making lists etc. There are many ways one can return to a good level of focus and the ones above are only a few.
Over the years energy drinks have gained in popularity, especially in the sporting industry. They claim to boost the immune system, as well as enhance performance and endurance. That’s why 30 to 50 percent of teens and young adults purchase these drinks. What effect do energy drinks have on the body when consumed on a regular basis?
Drinking energy drinks like Redbull, Monster, or Rockstar once in a while when you need a little boost to make it through a long drive is relatively harmless. However, once someone starts drinking them on a regular basis their body will develop a dependency. This causes a problem for your body’s overall health because excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar are consumed. This can lead to increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and weight, while causing insomnia, and dehydration. In the long run your body will feel worse.
The most common ingredients and their effects:
Caffeine is by far the most widely used stimulant in energy boosting products around the world. According to studies, 300 to 400 mg of caffeine a day, which varies by individual, will start causing initial symptoms such as increase in heartbeat, jitters, and/or insomnia. Caffeine dependency can already develop after only 5 to 7 days of regularly intake. Individuals may notice light withdrawal symptoms. For further side effects please read negative effects of caffeine from an earlier article. Currently caffeine is not required to be listed in ingredients. However, many companies list the substance voluntarily. This regulation may change in the near future due to the high amount found in energy drinks. FDA is trying to determine how to regulate the amount of caffeine listed.
Taurine is an amino acid, naturally produced in the body and used in many energy drinks. Taurine is said to support neurological developments and regulate the level of water and mineral salt in the blood. There are claims that it improves athletic performance and when mixed with caffeine increases mental performance.
Sugar is the basic nutrient used for energy production in the body. Even though the body needs sugar, too much of it can lead to various health problems. Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, often in large quantities and hidden behind healthy sounding names such as “natural cane sugar”. Some energy drinks contain up to 62 grams of sugar (15 1/2 teaspoons) worth—per 16-ounce. Some of the negative effects of sugar are:
- Tooth decay
Guarana is a substance from a South American plant. It’s a very popular ingredient for energy drinks because of its high caffeine content. Guarana contains more caffeine than any other plant in the world, including the coffee bean. There are some claims that Guarana promotes weight loss when combined with other ingredients. So if you read Guarana on the label of an energy drink already containing caffeine, it just means more caffeine.
Inositol is a naturally occurring vitamin that is produced from glucose. It’s considered a brain food because it is necessary for brain support. Studies suggest that it also aids in illnesses like depression or cancer.
Ginseng is an Asian herbal supplement used for different medical reasons. Only few of them have been researched more extensively. However there is no evidence that it boosts energy.
Glucuronolactone is a natural occurring substance in the body. There is not much research on it but claims have been made that it supports mental performance.
Art Sweeteners are sugar substitutes, often used in energy drinks to lower the amount of calories. There are a variety of different artificial sweeteners. It can also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are chemically processed and there have been various debates on its health risks. Tests on rats run in the 70 have claimed certain sweeteners cause cancer. None of these claims have been proven to be true.
Ginkgo Biloba is extracted from the leaves of the Asian Ginkgo tree. The herb is used in various energy drinks like Rockstar. Recent studies by the US government have shown that the substance may have resulted in the development of liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats.
L Carnitine is an amino acid produced by the body. Unless there is a deficiency the substance is relatively useless. Too much of it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizure.
L Theanine also an amino acid that is derived from tea. Preliminary studies claim that the substance may calm the brain and enhance concentration.
No one should rely on energy drinks for the regular energy boost but rather follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. However for most people it is ok to consume energy drinks occasionally, but coffee is still a better alternative source of caffeine. Energy drinks tend to have an effect of bringing the body’s capacity from 100% to 130%. If you are looking to recover your body from 70% to 100%, try Clarex, its completely stimulant free.
Last week I was talking about the negative effects caffeine can have on the human body. What many don’t know is that caffeine can actually be beneficial to us. Here are five interesting facts about the advantages of caffeine.
1. It Reduces the Risk of Suicide
According to a study by Havard’s School of Public Health people who drink more than two cups of coffee a day are more stable emotionally. The suicide risk is cut by 45 percent possibly because caffeine’s stimulant effect helps boost people’s moods. www.aarp.org
2. Caffeine increases Performance
Caffeine slightly increase heart and breathing rate preparing the body for peak performance. While working out it can also increase muscle contraction, which in turn leads to the growth of the muscle. This happens because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors attached to muscle fibers causing a stronger burst of calcium. In order for a muscle to contract, calcium must be released within a fiber. www.menshealth.com
3. Lowers The Risk of Diseases
A study lead by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found that caffeine reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by four to eight times. This is presumed because caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active. www.aarp.org
4. The Highest Intake of Antioxidants
Another study completed in 2005 states that coffee contains more antioxidants than any other food or drink. Even though some vegetables and fruits contain a good amount, the body absorbs the most antioxidants from coffee. www.huffingtonpost.com
5. Good for Your Liver
People who drink one cup of coffee everyday are 20 percent less likely to develop liver cirrhosis, which is autoimmune disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption that could lead to liver failure and cancer. “Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis” , said Arthur L Klatsky the lead author of the study. www.huffingtonpost.com
In conclusion, caffeinated drinks in moderation are ok. However, it is beneficial to follow a healthy diet and be physically active. More and more people drink coffee and overtime it has become much easier to access with local drive-through coffee shops across the country. We often drink caffeinated beverages to fight exhaustion. However sometimes, especially in the afternoon when our body and mind start to shut down caffeine is not the best solution, especially when we are trying to go to sleep a couple hours later. This is why we have developed CLAREX, it is a perfect supplement to help you stay focused without the added stimulant.
For so many people coffee is a morning elexir, they can’t live without. For those drinking coffee every day it has become a ritual that is hard to break. I myself love coffee, hot coffee, ice coffee, coffee with flavor, cappuccino, espresso, you name it. Some like their morning cup black; others add a lot of milk, and/or sugar. Despite many health benefits of caffeine, we often don’t think about the negative effects the black substance, we infuse into our body, can have. One of my very close friends drinks two large cups every single day, which raised the question to me. How bad is caffeine for us? I did a little bit of research and summed up some of the main points.
1. More than 4 cups of coffee daily increase the risk of early death.
A study completed by Mayo Clinic shows the risk of death increased by 21% in men who drank more than 4 cups a day. However, the study has slight discrepancies because many of those that reported their high caffeine intake also smoked and have poor fitness. NBC
2. More than 4 cups a day can also cause side effects:
- Stomach upset
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
3. Can disturb Your Sleep
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. When you lose sleep because of work, travel, stress, or other reasons, people often try to mask their lack of sleep with caffeine. This will help you stay awake during the day, but it will also make it harder for those using caffeine to fall asleep at night. Forbes states that coffee has a six-hour half-life, meaning it will take twenty-four hours to work its way out of your system. 25% will still remain in your body after having a cup of coffee at eight a.m. in the morning. forbes
4. Silently Kills Emotional Intelligence
An article written by Forbes addresses the impact caffeine has on our emotional response. The substance triggers the release of adrenaline, which is a substance that is released in the body when we feel a strong emotion, such as fear. These emotions can overrun our behavior when caffeine is infused, putting the body and brain into a hyper-aroused state. forbes
5. The Body Can Become Dependent On Caffeine
The positive stimulating effect caffeine gives people, can become an addiction for some, said Steven E. Meredith, postdoctoral research fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“Caffeine activates many of the same behavioral and neuropharmacological mechanisms that are activated by other reinforcers, including other drugs of abuse.
And, like many other reinforcers, caffeine is associated with various positive subjective effects like increased wellbeing, sociability, and feelings of energy and alertness. For this reason and others, a small percentage of the population develops caffeine use disorder.”
He said that the absence of caffeine in a person who drinks coffee on a regular basis can cause withdrawal symptoms, and trigger headaches, irritability, depression, and concentration difficulties. medicalnewstoday
Caffeine has so many effects on our brain and body, not all of them are negative. If you want to know what positive effects caffeine might have, stay tuned, and keep following our blog.
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